Newlyweds navigating their way through married life – and the kitchen

Tag Archives: Summer Appetizer

Roasted Red Pepper, Spinach & Goat Cheese Quinoa Bites

Worst part of this week = having to pack a lunch for FIVE WHOLE DAYS! It’s been weeks since I’ve put in a 40 hour’er – the joy of Christmas brings with it the joy of consecutive 4-5 day weekends.  But now, the grim reality that the next company holiday won’t be here until the snow is melted and my brown puffy down coat has been retired for the Winter.  Sigh.

Thank god I have these delicious Roasted Red Pepper, Spinach and Goat Cheese Quinoa bites to look forward to at lunch 🙂

Roasted Red Pepper, Spinach & Goat Cheese Quinoa Bites

INGREDIENTS
*yields about 34 bites

2 cups cooked quinoa

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small jar of roasted red peppers, chopped

2 cups frozen chopped spinach

2 garlic cloves, minced

4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

2 eggs, lightly beaten

salt and pepper to taste

1) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

2) Heat the olive oil in a medium sized skillet over medium heat.  Once the oil is heated, add chopped red peppers, spinach and minced garlic and sautee for about 5 minutes, until all the liquid from the peppers and spinach has evaporated. Remove from heat.

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3) In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, spinach/red pepper mixture and crumbled goat cheese.  Mix together to allow the goat cheese to melt.  Once the mixture has cooled a bit more (about 10 minutes), you can then add the eggs and mix together.  Season the mixture with salt & pepper to taste.

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4) Spray a mini-muffin pan (24 count) with non-stick cooking spray, making sure to spray the top of the pan as well to avoid the bites from sticking.  Place one tablespoon of the mixture in each muffin slot and bake in your preheated oven for 15-20 minutes.

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These are a nice light option for lunch or even a snack.  They’d also be a great appetizer for your next ladies night! Healthy, yummy and would go nicely with red OR white 🙂

Roasted Red Pepper, Spinach & Goat Cheese Quinoa Bites


Goat Cheese Week

We’re baaaaack – boy what a week it’s been! I feel like I’ve been to China and back (or maybe just the west coast) but in the last week, Dave and I flew to San Fran, drove to Sacramento, then drove to Lake Tahoe, then drove back to San Fran and then flew home!  It was a whirlwind trip, but there were several things that made all the travel well worth it.

1)  The Riehls and Little Joey – great hosts – who knew you could sample beer and parent at the same time?

Goat Cheese Week

2) The Sierra Nevada Brewery – delicious food and even more delicious beer!

Goat Cheese Week

3) Lake Tahoe Wedding celebration for my step-sister Samantha and her husband Scott! Pictures could never do it justice – absolutely gorrrrrge!

Goat Cheese Week

Goat Cheese Week

4)  Golden Gate bridge = most awesome bridge ever (terrible shot of us – instead of asking one of the 92484905840594 people there to take a pic of us, we took our own!)

Goat Cheese Week

So we’re back to life, back to reality, back to cooking!

This week, I thought it might be fun to do a series of recipes with one common ingredient, and this week’s ingredient ladies and gents isssss……(drum roll) GOAT CHEESE! I used to think “If it comes from a goat, I’m not eatin’ it” but now, goat cheese is one of my favorite cheeses – like a tangier cream cheese.  And I’ve just come to realize how versatile an ingredient it really is.

We got home from CA, and after picking up Hairy and spending lots of time playing with him to make sure he didn’t forget us, there was little time to grocery shop.  So last night’s dinner was a ‘cabinet creation’.  After not watering our herbs for almost a week, we were pleasantly surprised to find out that not only were they alive and well, but growing like weeds! Especially the basil!  I had found this recipe from Prevention RD for Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese pasta and thought “Yum” – and luckily, we had all the makings of it in our seemingly bare cabinets!

Modified a smidgen, here’s part 1 of goat cheese week:  Roasted Red Pepper, Goat Cheese and Basil Pasta, adapted from Prevention RD’s recipe.

Roasted Red Pepper, Goat Cheese and Basil Pasta
*Adapted from Prevention RD

INGREDIENTS

2 tbsp. olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 small onion, chopped

1 – 7oz bottle of Roasted Red Peppers, rinsed and drained and then chopped into small pieces

1 cup of crushed tomatoes
(I used the basil flavored kind)

4 oz goat cheese

1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

1) In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and onion and sautee until fragrant (about 2 minutes) stirring constantly to make sure the garlic doesn’t burn (burnt garlic = yuck)

2) Add the chopped roasted red pepper and tomatoes and simmer over low heat for about five minutes.

3)  Add the goat cheese and stir until it’s completely melted into the sauce.

4)  Take the sauce mixture and transfer to the food processor.  Add the fresh basil, salt and pepper, and pulse until it becomes a sauce-like consistency.

5) Serve over cooked pasta!

Usually, cabinet creations aren’t my favorite, but this particular time, I think we have a winner!  This sauce was so easy to make and a complete departure from your run of the mill tomato sauce.  The goat cheese added a rich and creamy texture and the roasted red peppers a bit of sweetness.  So good.  And as I was stuffing my face, I started thinking of all the things you could do with it!  You could serve it as a hot dip, with sliced baguette and veggies, or even use it as the base for a pizza (although Dave thinks it would be too watery on a pizza – one more challenge I’ll be happy to take him up on) But all in all, a definite keeper!

Stay tuned for more delicious goat cheese installments this week!


Roasted Corn & Tomato Salsa

Do you ever have those moments where something happens and you’re like “Woahhh – WEEEEIRD” – coincidences always blow my mind!

Sometimes I feel like a kid in a candy store when I start looking for new recipes to try – there are just SO many creative, fun and absolutely delicious recipes out there.  People’s imagination with food makes my head spin (in the good way!)

Last week, I was cyber-stumbling over all these great looking recipes that I wanted to try.  One of them being from Erin at Naturally Ella for Roasted Tomato and Corn Salsa.  I love fresh salsa, especially in the summer time.  I could eat it with a spoon, a fork, a knife, but prefereably with nice salty tortilla chips and frosty margarita.  The salsa sounded delish, and the blog post associated with it was even cuter, as she dished to readers about her surprise engagement!  Love engagement stories!  So I added it to the recipe ‘que’.

Then yesterday, who popped up right next to me on Tastespotting? Erin and her Roasted Tomato and Corn Salsa! Weeeeeird right? So I took that as a sign and while there were no chips or margharitas to accompany it, it was a perfect accompanyment to an otherwise unexciting piece of grilled chicken.  Modified it a tad (mostly to save on time) but it was awesome.  Thanks Erin and congrats on your engagement! Let the wedding planning begin 🙂

Roasted Tomato & Corn Salsa (the quick version)
*Adapted from Naturally Ella

INGREDIENTS

12 oz package of heirloom tomatoes, chopped
(or just plain roma – I personally like the orange and red combo)

3 tomatillos, husked, rinsed and diced

1 ear of sweet corn
(remove corn from cob)

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 cup of cilantro, chopped

1 tbsp. chili powder

juice of 1 lime

1 tbsp. olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

1) In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add minced garlic for about a minute, until fragrant, then add chopped onion and cook for about a minute more.

2)  Add the tomatoes and tomatillos to the onion & garlic and sautee for 2-3 minutes, until tomatoes become tender, but not cooked through.

3)  Add the corn to the mixture last, and sautee for about a minute more.

4)  Transfer the tomato/onion/corn mixture to the food processor.  Add cilantro and pulse until you reach your desired consistency.

5)  Transfer the pureed salsa mixture to a large mixing bowl.  Let cool for about 10 minutes.  Then season with chili powder, lime juice and salt and pepper.

Oh boy was this yum! By sauteeing the vegetables, I saved a little bit of time vs. roasting them in the oven, but was still able to get that ‘roasty’ flavor vs. when you make the salsa with the vegetables in their raw form.  It’s crazy the difference in taste between the two!

Roasted Corn & Tomato Salsa

I was so preoccupied with Salsa, I didn’t even see my little buddy getting himself stuck underneath the shelf – someone apparently doesn’t know just how big he’s getting!

Roasted Corn & Tomato Salsa


Roasted Red Pepper and Cannelini Bean Dip

I will confess that this blog post is recycled – as I think I have made this about 394803594830 times since I found it a couple years ago from Cooking Light.  But, the reason I’m sharing is because this dip is because it’s all three of my favorite things in a recipe:

1) Delicious

2) Healthy

3) Ridiculously easy to make

And you can do a million things with it – I use it like a hummus almost and spread it on sandwiches, or you can use it as a dip for veggies and chips, or you could toss it with pasta as an alternative to tomato sauce.  It’s so fresh tasting, perfect for summer!

Roasted Red Pepper and Cannellini Bean Dip

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

1 can of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1 tsp. balsamic vinegar

1 – 7oz. bottle roasted red peppers, rinsed and drained

1 large garlic clove

salt and pepper to tatse

1) Place all ingredients into a food processor – season with salt and pepper.

2) Pulse a few times until you reach your desired consistency (I personally like it a little chunkier, but you can always add some olive oil and pulse longer if you like it more thin)

Roasted Red Pepper and Cannelini Bean Dip

3) Serve immediately or chill overnight.

THAT’S IT! I can’t tell you how many compliments I have gotten on this dip and people asking for the recipe, so here it is folks – make it – it will be the best use of 10 minutes you’ll ever spend in the kitchen.

And for all you WW’ers out there? It’s low in points! For the entire thing (almost 2 cups) only 9 points.

Happy pulsing and dipping!



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